I am SO looking forward to Saturday’s book event with astronauts Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon, and I want to tell you why.
First, though, do you guys know who Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon are? There’s multiple bios on the web but the gist is this: They were part of the first class of astronauts selected specifically for the space shuttle program. Seddon is one of the first six women chosen by NASA to be astronauts, which is quite an honor. Hoot Gibson is her husband. They met and married while in the astronaut corps — the first astronaut couple, actually — raised a family and are still together, all while pursuing pretty demanding careers, not just as astronauts but after leaving the corps, Seddon returned to her career as a medical doctor and Gibson as a pilot.
Do you feel like you know a little more about these two now? Good. Are you starting to catch on to why I’m so excited? Even better.
So, here’s some of the things that excites me about having these two astronauts in particular talking and signing books with us:
First, Rhea Seddon doesn’t do a lot of speaking events — has anyone reading this heard her speak before? — I haven’t, so this will be new to me. Her website http://www.rheaseddon.com is fascinating so I have high hopes for what she has to say.
Two, she and Hoot are doing this talk together, which is another rarity. Hoot does a lot of public speaking, but having these two together is such a treat!
Three — These guys lived the story we tell in Bold They Rise. They were in the first class of space shuttle astronauts. They were on the development teams that developed the shuttle hardware and software. They experienced the first flights. They lost friends when Challenger exploded. We just tell the story in Bold They Rise, but these two astronauts lived the story we tell. We can re-tell stories we’ve read about. They can tell stories they remember. Big difference. I can’t wait to hear their recollections.
Four — when I talked with their representative about having them come talk at the event, I offered to send to Hoot a complimentary copy of Bold The Rise so they could be familiar with the book. But the woman I was working with said she believed he already had a copy of the book, that when they first talked about our event he had heard of Bold They Rise, had placed a pre-order some time ago, and had just been notified that his copy had shipped. How about that?!?
If you’re in the Huntsville area I hope you’ll come out. The talk is included with regular admission the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, which is graciously loaning us their facility and will be handling book sales. Books will be available for purchase. NOTE: Astronaut signing will only be available to book holders purchasing books at the event.